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Johnny Marr is an acclaimed British guitarist who’s played with a ton of bands including, most famously, The Smiths. Marr started playing guitar as a young teenager growing up in Manchester. When he turned 15 he dropped out of school and moved to London to join the band Sister Ray.

A couple years later he would help form The Smiths with Morrissey, Mike Joyce, and Marr’s friend and bassist, Andy Rourke. After The Smiths broke up in 1987, Marr went on to collaborate with an array of different musicians and play in bands like The Pretenders, The The, and Modest Mouse. In the early aughts, Marr started releasing solo material, and he’s on the brink of releasing a new album of his greatest hits.

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to Johnny Marr about his exciting work scoring movies with Pharrell and Hans Zimmer. Marr also recalls the terror he felt performing live in front of stadiums full of fans with The Pretenders on U2’s Joshua Tree tour. And he talks about the time he bought a Fender Stratocaster while hanging out with Oasis’ Noel Gallager. That Strat has nine pickups and it eventually led to him writing one the best songs of his solo career.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Johnny Marr songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…